WASHINGTON (CN) — As the U.S. Supreme Court allowed President Donald Trump’s travel ban on people from six Muslim-majority countries to go into full effect Monday, an Iranian facial surgeon asked a federal court to let her and her husband enter the country under a visa already approved, for her extraordinary abilities.
Shirin Shahnaseri, a medical scientist in oral and maxillofacial surgery, and her husband Seyed Amir Mousavi applied for a visa under the employment-based EB1-1 immigration petition category, which is used for a foreign national with extraordinary abilities. They asked the District of Columbia Federal Court to compel Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to approve the couple’s visas application, which could be a step on the road to lawful permanent residency.
“There is no reason not to let her into the country,” said their attorney Parva Fattahi. “Now with the Supreme’s Court decision on Monday, there is no way they are going to be let in.
“Shahnaseri would not have had to go through this if they were from Australia,” Fattahi said. “She is a woman at the height of her profession and the EB1-1 was designed specifically for professionals like her. They are the most desirable type of immigrants for this country. They bring with them a wealth of knowledge and expertise.”
Fattahi said that when the Supreme Court initially ruled in June, the consulate should have processed the visa applications. He said that the Department of Homeland Security “did not respect the Supreme Court’s decision at the time and they were not compliant with that decision.”
Two federal appeals courts are hearing separate challenges to ban. The Ninth Circuit heard Hawaii’s case Wednesday, and the Fourth Circuit will hear a challenge brought by the American Civil Liberties Union and other organizations on Dec. 8.
Fattahi said that the rulings from these courts will probably not have any bearing on this case, that only if the travel ban reaches the Supreme Court again could the status of Shahnaseri’s case be changed.
Applicants under the EB1-1 program self-petition without a U.S. employer to intercede on the applicant’s behalf.
Shahnaseri submitted her application with the DHS and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which was approved in August 2016. Since then her application has stalled and now it is unclear if the DHS will have to consider the application any further.
Trump issued his travel ban after the couple’s EB-1 visa was approved. The Supreme Court initially ruled that the government could not refuse to issue of visas for nationals of the subject countries, but the Monday ruling changed that.
Shahnaseri had secured a fellowship at the Trauma Plastics Service at the University of Maryland Medical Center, and was to speak at the 26th American Dental Congress in Philadelphia in September, and is slated to speak at the Allied Academics’ Annual Congress on Cell Science, Stem Cell Research & Regenerative Medicine in New York in March next year. Neither the speaking engagements nor the fellowship would change the outcome of the visa application.
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